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Packers prevail without Rodgers dominance

Statistically speaking, Aaron Rodgers wasn’t the quarterback he’d been in his previous three postseason appearances. Still the Green Bay Packers were good enough to beat the Chicago Bears and win the NFC Championship anyway.

Packers on Road in Playoffs
Since Super Bowl XXXII

In winning, the Packers became the fourth team to win three road games to reach the Super Bowl (the Jets can become the fifth). The previous three are the 1985 Patriots, 2005 Steelers and the 2007 Giants. The latter two won the Super Bowl.

Rodgers is only the third quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win a playoff game in which he threw the ball 30 or more times, with no touchdowns and at least two interceptions. The other two were Jim Plunkett (twice) and Peyton Manning. That was a major difference from his first three playoff games, in which Rodgers accounted for 12 Packers touchdowns.

Rodgers did run for a touchdown, becoming the third quarterback with six passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in the same postseason. The previous two (Steve Young in 1994 and Ben Roethlisberger in 2005) won the Super Bowl.

The Packers rushed for 120 yards, nine first downs and two touchdowns against the Bears on Sunday. In two regular-season meetings, they combined for only 123 rushing yards, seven first downs and one touchdown. The Packers' six runs of 10 yards or more were twice as many as they had in their first two meetings with Chicago.

Though Rodgers wasn’t dominant, he was much better than his Bears counterparts at throwing the football downfield. Rodgers was 7-for-10 for 154 yards when throwing the ball at least 15 yards in the air. The Bears quarterback triumvirate of Jay Cutler, Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie was a combined 2-for-11 with two interceptions on such throws.

Other statistical items of note from this game, culled with the help of Pro-Football-Reference.com and our video review crew:

B.J. Raji

RajiB.J. Raji became the first defensive lineman with an interception return for a touchdown in a postseason game since Clyde Simmons for the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars.

Greg Jennings became the fifth player to have two games with at least 130 or more receiving yards in a single postseason (the other two since 2000 are Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald). Jennings has had exactly 130 yards twice this postseason.

Sam Shields

ShieldsSam Shields became the fifth player and first rookie since the sack became an official stat in 1982 to have two interceptions and a sack in a postseason game, the first since Rodney Harrison did so in the Super Bowl for the 2004 Patriots.

• Trailing by a touchdown with 1:15 left on a crucial 3rd-and-3 from the Packers 27 yard line, the Bears made a rather unusual play call that proved to be pivotal to the outcome. They ran an unsuccessful end around to the left side, one that cost them a couple of yards and led to their next play being a game-clinching Green Bay interception.

Running to the left was unsuccessful all afternoon for the Bears, other than one Cutler nine-yard scramble. Their other eight runs to the left side of the field netted a total of nine yards (they gained 38 yards on nine runs to the right).

• Lastly, the Packers became the second team this postseason to win a playoff game on the road without throwing a touchdown pass, joining the New York Jets. It's the first time in the Super Bowl era that two teams have done that in the same postseason.